Kolkata Knight Riders and Punjab Kings will square off in a crunch IPL 2021 match with the stakes as high as the play-off spot in Dubai on Thursday.
KKR, who had made a strong comeback in the second phase of the season, are currently fourth in the table with 10 points in 11 games and will like to earn another win to keep the pressure on fifth-placed Mumbai Indians. PBKS, on the other, can't settle for anything less than two points as it virtually end their chances of qualifying for the last four.
And knowing that both teams can't t take any further leeways, the sides are expected to field their best XI.
Wicketkeeper (KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik)
PBKS captain KL Rahul is an automatic pick in the line-up due to his current run of form. The skipper had a good start in the last match against MI but couldn't turn into big innings and will like to change that in a virtual do-or-die clash. Dinesh Karthik has found his mojo back as the wicket-keeper batsman is playing the role of a finisher with consistency in the last two games.
Batsman (Shubman Gill, Aiden Markram, Nitish Rana)
We ignored Mayank Agarwal in the XI as it is uncertain if he is fit for the game or not. Otherwise, Mayank is a wiser choice than Karthik if in the playing XI. Aiden Markram has shown consistency with the bat in his last three innings while Nitish Rana returned to form last week and is in the playing XI.
All-rounder (Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer)
Both Sunil Narine and Venkatesh Iyer have been shining with the bat and ball for KKR over the last three games and are too hard to ignore.
Bowler (Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Varun Chakravarthy, Ravi Bishnoi)
Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Shami have been effective with the ball this season with Arshdeep impressing with his ability to bring variance in the pace of the delivery on slow pitches of the UAE. KKR spinner Varun Chakravarthy continues to be a mystery irrespective of the help coming from the pitches while Ravi Bishnoi's recent form suggests he is the go-to man for wickets.
Dubai International Cricket Stadium has help on the offer for both batsmen and bowlers as it is the fastest wicket among all the three venues.
The weather will remain hot and humid with the temperature fluctuating between 28-30 degrees Celsius.
You can watch the IPL 2021 KKR vs PBKS Match 45 Live Online on Hotstar and TV Telecast on Star Sports Network.